The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the diocesan Indigenous Discernment Circle and its Granting Committee are now accepting applications for funding projects addressing Indigenous healing and reconciliation initiatives as part of the national $30-million commitment by the Catholic Bishops of Canada announced in September 2021.
All grants are to be made in support of local projects and initiatives of:
Healing and reconciliation for communities and families.
Culture and language revitalization.
Education and community building.
Dialogues involving Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders and youth with focus on Indigenous spirituality and culture.
The diocese may seek support from or provide support to other dioceses and/or regions for projects that have impact beyond their diocese/region or are in excess of the committee’s budget.
General consideration and process will be as follows:
Sourcing of grants is the responsibility of the Discernment Circle and board.
All grants are to be made with Indigenous consultation based upon an assessment of the project’s merit and local value.
All recipients must be registered charities.
Projects and collaborations will be guided by integrity and align with miyo pimatisiwin and Catholic Social Teachings.
Grants will be made for up to 5 years.
Available funds are to a maximum of $250,000 per year over 5 years.
Preference will be given to initiatives that support legacy projects.
While the Granting Committee of the Discernment Circle guides the application process, approved grants will be made by the national “Indigenous Reconciliation Fund” directly to the recipient.
(Download application form and submit to Indigenous Discernment Circle Granting Committee, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, 2nd floor, 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon, SK S7S 1H1, or for more information contact Myron Rogal at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, 306-242-1500).
Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen recently reflected on the life and impact of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a Jan. 3 Mass in Saskatoon to pray for the repose of the soul of the retired pontiff who died Dec. 31 at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the age of 95 years.
A number of priests from across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon were among those attending the noon-hour Mass in Saskatoon, which was also live-streamed.
“He was a massive intellectual. He was an academic and theologian. And he was a pastor in particular a shepherd very much informed by his vast experience and his work over many, many years in theology and its implications,” Hagemoen said of the man who served as Pope Benedict XVI from April 19, 2005 until his resignation Feb. 28, 2013.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided at Mass Jan. 3 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, to pray for the repose of the soul of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)
In his homily Jan. 3, Saskatoon’s bishop shared a number of quotes and insights from Pope Emeritus Benedict on a range of topics and concerns, from the fundamental right to life to social justice, from safeguarding in the church to the care of the environment, from the New Evangelization to Vatican II, from digital media to the call to follow Jesus Christ’s example of charity and love for others, especially those in most need.
Among the many works and statements of Benedict XVI was the Encyclical Spe Salvi (In Hope We are Saved, 2007) in which he exhorted all the church to embrace joy and hope in spite of all the challenges facing the world, noted Hagemoen.
“God is the foundation of hope,” wrote Benedict XVI in that letter to the faithful, “not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us.”
Reflecting later about the impact of Pope Benedict, Hagemoen said that being asked to comment on his life and work is “like asking the child to comment on the master, parent and teacher.”
Hagemoen continued “I very much appreciated Pope Benedict XVI’s keen mind about theological matters, and the crucial distinctions and insights he provided on a number of important and difficult topics. He also demonstrated a pastor’s heart, especially when it came to expressing Christian charity by service and care for others.”
“I also appreciated his contributions to the understanding and ongoing appreciation of the Second Vatican Council, and how he encouraged all clergy and laity to delve deeply into the Council’s rich teachings. In this way he was a major proponent of the reform of renewal movement, which greatly encouraged me in my own pastoral growth and efforts,” said Hagemoen.
Saskatoon’s bishop also pointed to the great courage and humility of Benedict XVI, demonstrated in his unprecedented decision to retire as pontiff. “He did that in the love of and service of the Church …it took a very informed, insightful and very, very humble man to do that.”
In the conclusion of his homily Jan. 3, Hagemoen prayed:: “We give you thanks Lord God for the life of this man, we thank you for his extraordinary gifts, but most of all we thank you for the way in which he loved and served Christ and his Church always, a man of not only great gifts, but a man of great humility and remarkable courage. May he rest in peace.”
Other parishes around the diocese of Saskatoon also held Mass for the repose of Pope Emeritus Benedict and/or offered prayers throughout the week.
The Requiem Mass funeral for Pope Benedict was held Jan. 5, 2023 at St. Peter’s Bascilica at the Vatican.
Video of live-streamed Saskatoon Mass to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Tributes have been pouring in from across Canada as the Catholic community has joined the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The former pope died Dec. 31 at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. He was 95.
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, hailed the former pope as a man who inspired discipleship and theological wisdom.
“Throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto, we join in mourning the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” wrote Collins. “We give thanks for his years of faithful, thoughtful and inspiring service to the Church. As a priest for more than 70 years and in his time as bishop and supreme pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict offered each one of us a personal example of fidelity and of what it is to be a devoted disciple of Jesus.
“As a theologian, he followed in the footsteps of the great St. Augustine, in offering to us profound insight into the mysteries of our Christian faith, insight arising by God’s grace not only from his astonishing intellect and learning, but also from his personal holiness and pastoral care for God’s people; his writings will help guide disciples of Jesus in the centuries that lie before us.”
Collins also lauded Benedict XVI’s leadership of the universal Church.
“As pope, he led the universal Church with wisdom and holiness, providing a clear and loving message of how our faith can inspire us and guide us through the storms of life’s journey. More than ever, his own witness, humility and invitation to put others before ourselves should resonate throughout the world.”
Collins asked all 225 parishes of the Toronto archdiocese to add a special prayer of the faithful at all Masses until Benedict XVI’s funeral on Jan. 5 at St. Peter’s Basilica. Parishes also lowered their papal flags until the conclusion of the former pontiff’s funeral and were asked to celebrate a special Mass before the celebration of life at the Vatican.
Benedict’s intellectual prowess and gifts as a communicator of the Catholic faith was also admired by Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller.
“The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict is an occasion that causes us both sadness for our loss and gratitude for his ministry,” said Miller. “Although the Church and the world have lost one of the finest Christian minds of modern times, his passing invites reflection on his dedicated service to the Gospel.
“The former pope’s writings, known for their clarity and depth, form a legacy that will endure through the ages. History will remember his bold decision to resign from the papacy when he felt himself unable to fulfill the demands of the office.
“As a close collaborator of St. John Paul, he contributed greatly to a life-giving implementation of the Second Vatican Council and fostering the new evangelization for our times.”
Msgr. Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), remembered a man who sought to “heal the wounds of our past.”
“Benedict XVI was the first pope to meet victims of abuse by members of the clergy. He publicly acknowledged the scourge of abuse by these clergy, apologized for it, and strengthened Church processes to respond to allegations, including facilitating the prosecution or suspension from the clerical state those found responsible for abuse,” said Poisson, Bishop of St-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier.
Poisson also noted that years before Pope Francis’ papal trip to Canada this past summer, the late pope had met with and expressed sorrow to Chief Phil Fontaine and a delegation from the Assembly of First Nations for past wrongs done in the name of the Church.
“Pope Benedict XVI also invited a Canadian delegation, made up of representatives of Indigenous communities, as well as Catholic dioceses and religious communities across Canada, to a private meeting in April 2009 to discuss their experience of residential schools. During this meeting, the Pope listened to their stories and expressed his regret and sadness for the sorrow suffered by many Indigenous people in the residential school system.”
One of the highlights of Benedict XVI’s papacy, Poisson said, occurred on Oct. 21, 2012, when he canonized North America’s first Indigenous saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton offered “profound thanks to God for the gift that this humble servant of the Lord has been to the Church and world.”
A model disciple and gifted teacher, he leaves as his legacy both a personal example of loving fidelity to the Lord and a corpus of writings that offers sure guidance for Christian living,” said Smith. “May the merciful Lord now grant to this good and faithful servant eternal peace and joy.”
Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine emphasized Benedict XVI’s efforts to foster bonds with leaders and followers of other faiths.
“He was, like every human being, a synthesis of different elements, and wanted to be a man of faith. But I think it was also very conscious in him to consider the importance of dialogue, especially between Christian and Jewish followers as well as with Muslims.”
Calgary Bishop William McGrattan unveiled a pastoral letter in memorium where he wrote fondly about the former pope’s mind, humility, spirit of service and encouraging warmth.
He also focused on the late Pope Eemeritus’ connection with youth. McGrattan reminisced about a speech delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day in 2011 in Madrid, Spain. There was a rainstorm so strong that his address had to be paused for some time.
“(He) resumed praising the youth for their strength which he described as ‘stronger than the rain.’ He then exhorted them to be grounded in Christ, ‘may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, His name will continue to resound throughout the world.’
“These words seem to have been a personal reflection of his life in that while he had envisioned a quiet of life of retirement, he instead received the call from God in the later stages of his life to become the Vicar of Christ. His service as pope was his contribution to the ongoing plan of God for the Church.”
“We have been blessed and are incredibly grateful to have had the guidance from Pope Benedict XVI to assist and sustain us with the fullness of Catholic teachings in matters of public importance in Canada and the world,” added the Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada in a statement. “We can find numerous references in his words where he brought Christ and the theology of the Church to the public square, against the onslaught of efforts to remove positions of faith from public engagement.”
Founded in 1985, the League came to be as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the president of the International Theological and Pontifical Biblical commissions.
It was during the League’s 20th anniversary that Benedict was chosen pope. His homily at the opening Mass of the papal conclave was one of the occasions he inspired the League in its mission and mandate to “inform public policy and public opinion in the light of religious faith and reason.” In that speech Pope Benedict XVI spoke about overcoming ideological currents and a “dictatorship of relativism” by building a mature faith centred on love of Jesus Christ.”
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 76-79)
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This New Testament passage from St. Luke continues to inspire and encourage me. It is known as the Canticle of Zechariah, or “The Benedictus” – the great prayer of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.
Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke this great prophecy about the coming of the Messiah for the world. However, the Messiah would not only provide ‘blessing’ and ‘deliverance’ in ways that merely satisfied people’s sense and longing for what it meant to be safe, secure, and prosperous – but would call for a fundamental change that would affect our very being: our mind, heart, and human condition. With the coming of this Messiah, we would move from merely being blessed and cared for, to being called to share in the life and way of God!
This conversion is so fundamental and so essential, that I find that no Christmas is the same. Each year we are called deeper into the meaning of this mystery, into such a salvific transformation. Christmas is a time when we recall God’s intervention into the state of affairs of all humanity. Despite the challenges and crises that the world experiences … God comes to us! And God comes not only to us, but in us and with us. As St. Irenaeus reflects, “God is man’s glory. Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.”
I continue to be amazed, comforted, and challenged by how God deals with us – all of us. God invites us to respond in some small, faithful way to the absolute plentitude we receive from Him, the Absolute Giver. Although we can ‘give back’ or ‘pay forward’ a very small fraction of what God gives to us and the world – God does not measure or give back according to our limited desire or capacity. God is the Absolute Lover and Giver. As St. John says, “God is Love, and those who abide in Love, abide in God, and God in them.” (I John 4:16)
During these past few years and persisting into our current time, there is much fear and anxiety in the world. The Covid 19 pandemic, economic uncertainties, and the terrible war in Ukraine are among the major events that are so affecting us today.
As we struggle to make sense of such disappointment and crises for our communities and world, we can wonder, “Where is our Saviour? Why do good and innocent people continue to struggle with such things?”
Pope Francis recently reflected on John the Baptist’s imprisonment near the end of his life as he announced the coming of the Lord Jesus. As Pope Francis states, “John is in prison, and this, as well as being a physical place, makes us think of the inner situation he is experiencing: in prison there is darkness, there is no possibility of seeing clearly and seeing beyond it.” The Pope notes that in John’s case, it is as if he is no longer able to see in Jesus the awaited Messiah, and out of doubt sends his disciples to verify it. Pope Francis continues:
“It surprises us that this should happen to John, the one who had baptized Jesus in the Jordan and had indicated him to his disciples as the Lamb of God (cf. Jn 1:29). But this means that even the greatest believer goes through the tunnel of doubt. And this is not a bad thing; on the contrary, sometimes it is essential for spiritual growth: it helps us understand that God is always greater than we imagine Him to be.” (Pope Francis, Angelus, December 11, 2022)
Ah, the lingering plague of doubt and fear! These sneak up on us, and take their toll on our trust and abandonment to the providence of God.
Let us remember that the first letter of John mentioned above goes on to contrast fear versus love: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19)
The realization of the meaning of Christmas must challenge and stretch us in new and greater ways – including our awareness of the care of our brother and sister – let alone the many who are “the stranger.” In Jesus Christ, our previously limited notions of what constitutes community and brotherhood are changed, because of what follows upon the birth of Christ the Saviour – namely the Paschal Mystery, which features an epic and unprecedented personal sacrifice for all men and women of every creed, language, and nation by the One who draws all humanity to a new heaven and a new earth: the Kingdom of God.
Nativity pageant at Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon. (Photo by T. Yaworski)
So, amidst our frustrations, regrets, and disappointments, CHRISTMAS COMES! Thank God, Christmas just… comes! O come, O Come, Emmanuel. Whether we are ready or not… whether we can celebrate as usual or not… whether we can gather with many or with only a very few… whether we come off a year feeling profoundly blessed or really broken… Christmas comes! GOD IS with us in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. GOD IS loving us, caring for us, holding us.
I recall last year Pope Francis warned against the “senseless notion” that the world can go back to what it was, relying on “…false securities, habits and projects that aim exclusively at pursuing wealth and personal interests, while failing to respond to global injustice, the cry of the poor and the precarious health of our planet.” (Pope Francis address to ecumenical delegation, June 28, 2021)
One way in which we have all been challenged this past year is regarding the approach we take – and our Church takes – to evangelization and spreading the faith. This past summer during Pope Francis’s visit to Canada, at Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton he reflected on two contrasting approaches to evangelization, with very different ways of expressing power and authority.
Pope Francis pointed to the lasting pain created when Christians and religious institutions are not careful about how they represent the faith of Christ to others – in particular, imposing our version of the faith through our own limited cultural models. Imposing versus proposing the Gospel can have terrible repercussions. This is not God’s way. By contrast, God loves, liberates, and leaves us free:
Pope Francis at Lac Ste Anne pilgrimage in July 2022. (Photo by M. Swan, CCN)
“One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself. And yet, how many times has this happened in history! While God presents himself simply and quietly, we always have the temptation to impose him, and to impose ourselves in his name. It is the worldly temptation to make him come down from the cross and show himself with power…. Brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus, may this never happen again in the Church. May Jesus be preached as he desires, in freedom and charity. In every crucified person whom we meet, may we see not a problem to be solved, but a brother or sister to be loved, the flesh of Christ to be loved.” (Pope Francis at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, July 25, 2022)
I pray that we will always proclaim by our life and words – the true God because we are striving to know Him and to be created in Christ’s image.
Thus, as we approach another Christmas, we need to be open to ongoing growth and healing. There are many things that do need to change in our lives. The need for change and ongoing conversion – first and foremost in terms of our own minds and hearts – is absolutely crucial. As Pope Francis states:
“Everything depends on our ability to see the need for a change of heart, attitudes and lifestyles … (and watch for) …human weakness, the proclivity to selfishness that is part of what the Christian tradition refers to as concupiscence”: the human inclination to be concerned only with myself, my group, my own petty interests.” (Fratelli Tutti #166)
I very much appreciate the Holy Father’s emphasis on the priority of forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation. The mercy and forgiving love of God for the world is why Jesus comes at Christmas. As the Pope states: “…Those who truly forgive do not forget. Instead, they choose not to yield to the same destructive force that caused them so much suffering.” (Fratelli Tutti #252) There may be much to be angry about, however, left alone, our anger will consume and destroy us.
O how the world needs to choose another way – the way demonstrated in the life and way of Jesus Christ. Taking the path of Christ also means that we must continue to grow in our commitment and ability to listen, communicate and seek healthy relationship with one another – key themes as the Church continues to engage in the Synod on Synodality in the coming New Year.
May our celebration of Christmas seek Christ’s merciful and redeeming way. Let us ask ourselves:
How is God calling me to be more fully human, fully alive in my life right now?
Do I give the Christ permission to take my heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh?
In what way is this Christmas different for me, in terms of what God wants me to see, to change, to heal and forgive, to live and do differently?
AND …with whom am I called to forgiveness, reconciliation and healing?
Let us be awake and watchful at this Christmas time when God comes to us!
July 2022 – Diocesan Discernment Circle shares vision for local participation in national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund:
A Discernment Circle that has been meeting since March in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has formally announced its vision for local participation in a national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund established by the Catholic Bishops of Canada for healing and reconciliation projects.
In a celebration at Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal in Saskatoon on Friday July 15, 2022, Discernment Circle members unveiled a covenant statement that articulates the spirit, intent, and commitments of the initiative to invite and propose local reconciliation and healing projects to be supported by the national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is committed to raising $250,000 each year over the next five years, as its contribution to the $30-million national financial pledge of the Catholic bishops of Canada, to support healing and reconciliation initiatives for residential school survivors and their communities.
The covenant statement is grounded in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also references the ancient biblical concept of “right relationship” with the One God and Creator, with all peoples, with the Land and all Creation; as well as the Indigenous nehiyaw principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin, or “possessing good relations founded in relationship among people, the sacred laws, and the Creator.”
“Our covenant statement describes how we will stand together in hope and action as we speak and share, so that others may come forward as we all continue the healing journey,” said Discernment Circle co-chair Dr. Gordon Martell, superintendent of education with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.
“Launching and celebrating this vision is another step on that journey. We have great hope for the projects and initiatives that will eventually unfold because of this step,” he said.
Discernment Circle members and guests gathered for a liturgy July 15 to celebrate and launch a covenant statement articulating the Circle’s vision for supporting projects through the Catholic TRC Healing Response fund. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)
The outdoor celebration on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River July 15 opened with a welcome and land acknowledgement by MaryAnne Morrison, a member of the Discernment Circle who also serves on the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation, followed by a smudging ceremony and drum song by Elmer Tootoosis, and an opening prayer by Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen.
“We pray that You will continue to send your Great Holy Spirit upon the members of this Circle and all peoples, as we hear Your call to us to a true unity that also honours diversity, a true harmony that also realizes the great diversity of gifts and of spiritual ways,” said Bishop Hagemoen in his opening prayer. “We especially acknowledge the spiritual ways of the Cree and other Indigenous and Métis people that are part of this land and territory.”
Discernment Circle members Carol Zubiak and Sandra Harper (l-r) participate in the July 15 liturgy to launch the groups covenant statement.
Circle member Carol Zubiak of the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission proclaimed scripture readings from Ezekiel 11:19 and Hebrews 8:8-12. Circle member Deacon Harry Lafond of Muskeg Lake First Nation – who also provides pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Prince Albert – offered a reflection during the outdoor liturgy.
Covenant is about total commitment, Lafond said, similar to the covenant that exists in a marriage. “We are aspiring in our diocese to work towards that 100 per cent commitment for all of us… to understand how we are all related, and to move forward in a holy way, a sacred way, with God as our witness and God as our guide and God as our support system.”
Deacon Lafond added that this is about “moving forward and looking to the generations that follow us, and teaching those generations the importance of covenant… to celebrate the diversity of who we are as Canadians, who we are as Catholics, and who we are as community and family,” he added.
“It is a journey, it is not an event,” he said.
Circle members Deacon Harry Lafond and Cecile Smith
Members of the Discernment Circle then proclaimed the covenant statement, before offering up their intercessory prayers. The event concluded with a sign of peace, a closing prayer and a blessing from the bishop, followed by a round dance and a social gathering.
We – the people of our One Creator tasked with coming together to discern and facilitate local projects and initiatives on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon – enter into and commit to this Covenant, which finds its meaning in the ancient biblical concept of right relationship with the One God and Creator, with all people, with the Land and all of Creation; and in the nehiyaw principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin, or possessing good relations founded in relationship among people, the sacred laws, and the Creator.
This Covenant is also inspired by the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Under the guidance of the Great Holy Spirit, we shall seek to respect and nurture healing and right relationship between all peoples – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – and to celebrate, honour, and share cultural histories and be faithful stewards of the spiritual and temporal gifts that the Creator has entrusted to us – as established by the founding treaty relationships among our peoples.
Our motivation and meaning will also feature humility and the journey from apology to reconciliation (see Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57: 17). It will be celebrated in ceremony and ritual.
We acknowledge and commit to honour the sacredness of one another as we deal with the long discourse and journey of reconciliation. As we consider and engage in projects, we commit to the ministry of presence and accompaniment.
We promise and commit to nurture right relationship through sharing, respect, love for each other and the Creator. We will accept each other’s visions and beliefs. We will assist the Church family to understand itself and move forward in reconciliation. We will invest in relationships with each other and engage in meaningful conversations with each other and with the Church.
We also seek to contribute to establishing Indigenous theological and ceremonial foundations in the Church, and to an enculturation between Catholic and Indigenous ritual and spirituality. We also seek to foster reclamation of Indigenous culture, language, and identity.
We stand together in hope and action as we speak and share so that others may come forward as we all continue the healing journey.
– Discernment Circle for Catholic TRC Healing Response, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
Elmer Tootoosis participated in the prayer service July 15 at Queen’s House, Saskatoon.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen greets Elder Irene Sharp, a member of the Discernment Circle, at the July 15 celebration.
RELATED: Bishop Mark Hagemoen announces five-year Catholic TRC Healing Fund goal of $1.25 million to support healing and reconciliation initiatives for residential school survivors and their communities as part of the national $30-million commitment – Letter from Bishop Hagemoen – PDF
Catholic dioceses across Canada, in their continuing journey of seeking reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, have voluntarily committed to contributing $30 million over five years in new funding to facilitate further reconciliation efforts. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has committed $1.25 million over 5 years as part of this Canada-wide effort, and has already begun fundraising and financing initiatives (dscf.ca/trc), notes Bishop Mark Hagemoen.
The national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund is an arms-length, federally-incorporated not-for-profit registered charity with its own independent national Board of Directors, initially comprised of four Indigenous members.
The purpose of the Fund is to:
Independently approve funding requests from Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees that are consistent with the Fund’s granting guidelines;
Independently manage the receipt of funds and send monies directly to support approved reconciliation projects and initiatives; and
Independently, annually report to dioceses and the public on the flow of money into the Fund and out in support of approved projects.
Indigenous Reconciliation Fund General Criteria & Granting Guidelines:
The national Fund has established General Criteria and Granting Guidelines to assist Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees (or their equivalent) in their local engagement of and discernment with Indigenous groups.
The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund’s Board of Directors will review all grant applications and disburse funds to projects and initiatives that meet the guidelines and are within the budget of the monies contributed to the national Fund by a diocese or region.
Among other details, the General Criteria and Granting Guidelines for the Fund state that all Indigenous Reconciliation Fund grants are to be made in support of local projects and initiatives related to:
Healing and reconciliation for communities and families
Culture and language revitalization
Education and community building
Dialogues involving Indigenous Elders, spiritual leaders and youth with focus on Indigenous spirituality and culture.
Discerning Local Needs: Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees
The intention for the national Fund is to have local dioceses work with local Indigenous groups and organizations to identify priorities and meaningful reconciliation work to be funded by the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.
To this end, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon established the “Discernment Circle” of Indigenous representatives and leaders which has been meeting since March 2022. It includes 13 First Nations members and 2 Métis members as well as non-Indigenous representatives. The group includes Elders, Residential School Survivors and the children of Survivors, as well as local educators and community leaders.
In addition to co-chairs Gordon Martell and CeCeBaptiste, Discernment Circle members are: Shirley Arcand, Kelly Cardinal, Honey Constant, Dolores Greyeyes-Sand, Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Sandra Harper, Gilbert Kewstep, Deacon Harry Lafond, Deacon Dan Lamoureaux, Lyndon Linklater, MaryAnne Morrison, Myron Rogal, Irene Sharp, Delores Smallchild, Roddy Stone, and Carol Zubiak.
The diocesan Discernment Circle has been discussing and discerning reconciliation initiatives that will have a meaningful local impact. Under the terms of the national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, dioceses can recommend funding these local initiatives to the extent of the funds the diocese has contributed to the Fund.
Work-to-date of the Discernment Circle has included:
Reviewing and discussing funding principles and themes;
Discussion and development of a “Statement of Covenant”;
Review and reflection on the apology of Pope Francis given to the Indigenous delegation to the Vatican on April 1, 2022;
Discussion of possible general project categories.
The visit will provide an opportunity for Pope Francis to listen and dialogue with Indigenous Peoples, to express his heartfelt closeness and to address the impact of residential schools in Canada. The papal visit will also provide an opportunity for the shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to connect with the Catholic community in Canada.
The Holy Father will travel within Alberta (based in Edmonton) from July 24-27, followed by a visit to Quebec City and Ste. Anne-de-Beaupré, July 27-29.
Pope Francis will visit Iqaluit, Nunavut the afternoon of July 29 before returning to Rome.
BISHOP HAGEMOEN – Responding to newly-released details about the papal visit schedule, Bishop Mark Hagemoen says that plans are underway for a bus trip to Edmonton from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, as well as for a Saskatoon event on July 26 , held in conjunction with the papal visit, with more details to be announced soon: LINK to Bishop Hagemoen’s letter to the diocese.
IN OUR DIOCESE – Events and plans for the pilgrimage of reconciliation and healing during Pope Francis’s visit to Canada:.
“Walking and Healing Together” – A local Saskatoon event is being planned in conjunction with papal visiton Tuesday, July 26 – which is the Feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus – to be held at St. Mary’s Education and Wellness Centre, 327 Avenue N South, Saskatoon, for those wishing to participate in a gathered local event during the papal visit.
This come-and-go event is FREE. It would be helpful for planning if those planning to attend would please register ahead of time – LINK to online registration.
Volunteers are also needed! If you can volunteer at the local Saskatoon event for any time between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, please contact Myron for more information email@example.com
Support for Residential School Survivors and Elders to visit Edmonton during the visit of Pope Francis to Canada: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is committed to sponsoring a number of Residential School Survivors and Elders to attend papal visit events July 25 and 26. This diocesan support includes covering expenses on the trip for Survivors and Elders, such as accommodation, transport, etc.
DONATIONS – To support a Residential School Survivor to attend, to support the Catholic TRC Healing Response and/or to support the papal visit, see the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation: dscf.ca/papal-visit-2022.
Message from the organizers of the papal visit:“As the Church, it is our shared responsibility to facilitate this apostolic journey and the planning that it entails. There are many costs associated with the papal visit which are the direct responsibility of the Church, and we need your help to ensure the financial means that will further support this journey of healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. To make a donation, please visit our website, papalvisit.ca.” – Donation Information Brochure PDF (English) / (French)
PRAYERS – Saint Anne Novena for the Papal Visit: From July 18 to 26 Saint Anne Parish in Saskatoon will host a novena of Masses, praying that the visit of Pope Francis to Canada will be a source of healing and reconciliation. A novena is a nine-day series of prayers. Every evening from July 18 to 26, Mass will be offered at 7:00 p.m., followed by Indigenous teaching (Please note one exception: on Saturday, July 23, Mass will be held at 5:00 p.m.). Please join any of these Masses, held at Saint Anne Catholic Church, 217 Lenore Drive, Saskatoon.
The Holy Father will arrive in Edmonton, Alberta on Sunday, July 24. Following a brief airport ceremony, the 85-year-old pontiff will take the remainder of the day to rest.
July 25, 2022
On Monday, July 25, Pope Francis will visit Maskwacis, home to the former Ermineskin Residential School, one of the largest residential school sites in Canada. The Holy Father will join former residential school students from across the country as part of a formal program. Alberta is home to the largest number of former residential schools in Canada.
Later in the day, the pontiff will visit Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, a National Indigenous church in downtown Edmonton. Following extensive restoration after a devastating fire in 2020, the parish will re-open its doors after using a nearby school the last several years to offer hospitality, spiritual care and supportive outreach programs serving a diverse urban Indigenous community. This will be an invitation-only event.
July 26, 2022
Tuesday, July 26 is the feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, a day of particular reverence for Indigenous Catholics and often the focus of pilgrimage in various parts of the country. In an event that will be open to the public, the Holy Father will celebrate an open-air Mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The facility can accommodate up to 65,000 attendees for a program that will incorporate Indigenous traditions as part of the gathering.
In the early evening, the Holy Father will travel to Lac Ste. Anne, the site of an annual pilgrimage that welcomes tens of thousands of Indigenous participants from throughout Canada and the United States each year. Programming will be offered throughout the day leading up to the Holy Father’s participation in a prayer service.
July 27, 2022
The Holy Father will depart Edmonton for Quebec City on Wednesday, July 27.
Upon arrival in Quebec, the Pontiff will visit La Citadelle, where he will take part in private meetings. Pope Francis, as both a spiritual leader and head of state, will also offer a public address.
For events in Quebec City, the public is also invited to participate at a dedicated area on the Plains of Abraham, where there will be opportunities on July 27 and 28 for Indigenous cultural expression as well as the chance to view papal events on large screens. The detailed program of activities on the Plains is being developed with Indigenous and community partners.
July 28, 2022
Pope Francis will travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Thursday, July 28, where he will celebrate Mass at one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, drawing more than a million visitors to the site (including annual Indigenous pilgrimages) each year. Organizers anticipate between 10,000 and 15,000 guests may attend with space for guests both inside and outside the basilica.
Later in the day, the HolyFather will meet with bishops, priests, seminarians, consecrated men and women as well as those who work in various church ministries, as is customary with most papal visits. The pope will have the remainder of the evening for rest while a dinner focused on friendship and ongoing dialogue will bring together Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada and representatives of the Catholic Bishops of Canada.
July 29, 2022
Following a private meeting with members of his own religious order (Society of Jesus) Friday, July 29, Pope Francis will meet with Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada before departing for Iqaluit, where he will spend the afternoon in a private meeting with residential school survivors before attending a public community event hosted by Inuit.
The Holy Father will depart for Rome from Iqaluit in the early evening of July 29.
On April 1, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. The Holy Father expressed “sorrow and shame” for the abuse and lack of respect for Indigenous identities, culture and spiritual values in the residential school system. (Image courtesy of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops)
[CCCB – May 13 2022] – The Vatican announced May 13 that Pope Francis will travel to Canada from July 24 – 29, 2022. The historic visit, focused on Indigenous healing and reconciliation, will be the fourth papal journey to Canada and the first since Saint John Paul II’s last visit in 2002.
Given the vast landscape of Canada, the limited time period for the visit and considering the health of the 85 year-old Pontiff, the Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will adopt only three communities as a base for his Canadian visit: Edmonton, Quebec City, and Iqaluit.
The Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan are among those welcoming news of Pope Francis’ visit to Canada July 24-29:
Bishop Raymond Poisson, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomed the formal confirmation of the visit on behalf of Canada’s Catholic Bishops:
“We are immensely grateful that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation to continue the journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples of this land. In late July, Pope Francis will have the opportunity to visit Indigenous peoples here in their homeland, as he promised when he met them recently in Rome. We pray for the health of the Holy Father as we undertake the intensive planning for this historic visit.”
On April 1, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. The Holy Father expressed “sorrow and shame” for the abuse and lack of respect for Indigenous identities, culture and spiritual values in the residential school system.
The Holy Father’s apology was informed by private encounters between March 28 and April 1 with 32 Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth representing the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Métis National Council (MNC), and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).
Given the vast landscape of Canada, the limited time period for the visit and considering the health of the 85 year-old Pontiff, the Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will adopt only three communities as a base for his Canadian visit: Edmonton, Quebec City, and Iqaluit.
The visit to three locations will limit travel for the Holy Father while still allowing an opportunity for both intimate and public encounters, drawing on participation from all regions of the country.
Edmonton is home to the 2nd largest number of Indigenous people living in urban Canadian centres. In addition, 25 residential schools were located in Alberta, the most of any province or territory in Canada.
Iqaluit, with close to 8,000 people, is home to the highest population of Inuit (3,900) of all Canadian cities with more than 5,000 people. Pope Francis was personally invited by Inuit delegates to visit the North during their meetings in March.
Quebec City provides an eastern hub for those who may wish to travel to see Pope Francis, especially Indigenous Peoples of the East. The region is also home to Ste. Anne-de-Beaupré, one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, drawing Indigenous Peoples and others from throughout Canada and around the world each year.
While dates and general locations have been confirmed by the Vatican, specific sites and a formal program will be developed in dialogue with Indigenous partners at the local and national level. Given the focus on Indigenous healing and reconciliation, the Holy Father is expected to visit the site of a former residential school and other locations of particular significance.
Typically, six to eight weeks prior to a papal visit, a full program and itinerary are released by the Vatican. At that time, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about how they may participate in the numerous events and related activity for the papal visit, along with volunteer opportunities and other relevant details.
The CCCB has appointed Archbishop Richard Smith as General Coordinator for the Papal Visit, to guide this immense undertaking on behalf of the Canadian Bishops. As Archbishop of Edmonton, the archbishop also accompanied Indigenous delegates to the Vatican earlier this year and has long-standing relationships with Indigenous leaders.
Archbishop Smith commented on the appointment: “I am humbled to serve as General Co-ordinator for this historic visit from Pope Francis. I look forward to working with Indigenous Peoples from across this land as well as local, provincial and federal partners as we prepare to welcome the Holy Father and continue to walk together on this important healing and reconciliation journey.”
On April 1, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. The Holy Father expressed “sorrow and shame” for the abuse and lack of respect for Indigenous identities, culture and spiritual values in the residential school system. (Image courtesy of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops)
About the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It was founded in 1943 and officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948.
The Synod process continues in our diocese, part of a world-wide Synod For a Synodal Church launched by Pope Francis. Submissions from parishes and groups are now in, and will soon be summarized into a document to be sent to the next level of the Synod process. A public meeting about our diocesan results and experience will be held on Wednesday May 18 in person and online, beginning with Mass at 6:30 p.m. followed by a program at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend this diocesan Synod Summit evening.
What was shared? What was heard? What are next steps?
Join Bishop Mark Hagemoen and members of our diocesan and parish Synod teams to hear more on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, both in-person and online, beginning with Mass at 6:30 pm followed by the Synod Summit meeting at 7:30 p.m. held at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, Saskatoon.
An annual fund-raising effort to support ministry and outreach across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is starting a bit later this year – but that’s not the only thing that is new.
The 2021 theme for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) – “God is Doing New Things” – is particularly apt as a number of new situations, new initiatives and new realities continue to challenge and inspire the diocese and its parishes. The theme is based on the scripture verse from Isaiah 43: 19: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Among the new initiatives this year is another, parallel fund-raising effort — the Catholic TRC Healing Response in support of healing for residential school survivors and their communities, launched this summer by the Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan.
“The 2021 Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) begins later than usual this fall due to the importance of working on details of the recently-launched Catholic TRC Healing Response fund-raising effort,” noted BAA Coordinator Cathy Gilje of the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation.
In his letter to parishioners about this year’s Annual Appeal, Bishop Mark Hagemoen noted: “We look forward to making further progress in our diocese on our commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this spirit, the Bishops of Saskatchewan recently announced efforts to promote a Catholic TRC Healing fund to support the healing and care of persons affected by the damaging legacy of residential schools in our province.”
Gifts to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal have always supported Indigenous Ministry, including Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, which serves Indigenous and Métis parishioners in Saskatoon, as well as the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation, which has its mandate “…to provide a forum for listening and sharing, through stories and prayer, to collaborate with the diocese toward building and strengthening relationships, and to support healing from the Indian Residential School experience.”
“The Bishop’s Annual Appeal is how our diocese and the local church responds to the many needs we see around us and provides service and outreach throughout our diocese,” said Bishop Hagemoen in his letter to the diocese.
“These supports are more necessary than ever as we deal with the challenges of our present times. The size of your gift is secondary to the goal that all people of our diocese participate in sharing and working together in the mission of Proclaiming Christ, in service to others, sharing from the heart.”
Sept. 24, 2021 – The Catholic Bishops of Canada, gathered in Plenary Sept. 20-24, took the opportunity to affirm and acknowledge to the Indigenous Peoples the suffering experienced in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
Many Catholic religious communities and dioceses participated in this system, which led to the suppression of Indigenous languages, culture and spirituality, failing to respect the rich history, traditions and wisdom of Indigenous Peoples.
The Catholic Bishops of Canada acknowledged the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual. They also sorrowfully acknowledged the historical and ongoing trauma and the legacy of suffering and challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day.
Along with those Catholic entities which were directly involved in the operation of the schools and which have already offered their own heartfelt apologies, the Catholic Bishops of Canada expressed their profound remorse and apologized unequivocally.
Together with the many pastoral initiatives already underway in dioceses across the country, the bishops pledged to undertake fundraising in each region of the country to support initiatives discerned locally with Indigenous partners.
They invited the Indigenous Peoples to journey with them into a new era of reconciliation, helping us to prioritize initiatives of healing, to listen to the experience of Indigenous Peoples, especially to the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, and to educate our clergy, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful, on Indigenous cultures and spirituality. The bishops further committed to continue the work of providing documentation or records that will assist in the memorialization of those buried in unmarked graves.
A delegation of Indigenous survivors, Elders/knowledge keepers, and youth will meet with the Holy Father in December 2021. Pope Francis will encounter and listen to the Indigenous Peoples, so as to discern how he can support our common desire to renew relationships and walk together along the path of hope in the coming years.
The Bishops of Canada have pledged to work with the Holy See and our Indigenous partners on the possibility of a pastoral visit by the Pope to Canada as part of this healing journey.
“We are committed to continue the journey with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of this land,” stated the bishops. For more information, please visit www.cccb.ca
Les évêques du Canada offrent aux peuples autochtones des excuses sans équivoque
Les évêques catholiques du Canada, réunis en Assemblée plénière cette semaine, ont profité del’occasion pourconfirmer et reconnaître aux peuples autochtones les souffrances éprouvées dans les pensionnats indiens du Canada.
Beaucoup de communautés religieuses et de diocèses catholiques ont participé à ce système, qui a entraîné la suppression des langues, de la cultureet de la spiritualité autochtones et qui n’a pas respecté la riche histoire, les traditions et la sagesse des peuples autochtones. Elles ont reconnu les graves abus qui ont été commis par des membres de notre communauté catholique : des abus physiques, psychologiques, émotionnels, spirituels, culturels et sexuels. Elles ont aussi reconnu avec douleur les traumatismes passés et persistantset l’héritagedes souffrances et des difficultés vécues par les peuples autochtones, qui persistentjusqu’à ce jour.De concert avec les entités catholiques qui ont participé directement au fonctionnement des écoles et qui ont déjà présenté leurs sincères excuses, les évêques du Canada ont exprimé leurs profonds remords et ont présenté des excuses sans équivoque.
En plus des nombreuses initiatives pastorales déjà en cours dans les diocèses de tout le pays, les évêques se sont engagés à entreprendre une collecte de fonds dans chaque région du pays pour soutenir les initiatives discernées localement avec les partenaires autochtones. De plus, ils ont invité les peuples autochtones à cheminer avec nous vers une nouvelle ère de réconciliationen nous aidant à définir les priorités des initiatives de guérison, à écouter l’expérience des peuples autochtones, et particulièrement des survivants des pensionnats indiens, et d’instruirenotre clergé, les hommes et femmes consacrés, de même que les fidèles laïcs, sur les cultures et la spiritualité autochtones. Ils se sont également engagés à continuer le travail de communication de la documentation ou des dossiers qui aideront à commémorer ceux qui sont enterrés dans des sépultures anonymes.
Une délégation de survivants autochtones, d’aînés/de gardiens du savoir et de jeunes rencontrera le Saint-Père en décembre 2021. Le pape François rencontrera et écoutera les peuples autochtones afin de discerner comment il pourra appuyer notre désir commun de renouveler lesrelations et de marcher ensemble sur un chemin d’espoir dans les prochaines années.Les évêques du Canada ont promis de collaborer avec le Saint-Siège et nos partenaires autochtonesen vue de la possibilité d’une visite pastorale du pape au Canada dans le contexte de ce chemin de guérison.
<<Nous nous sommes engagés à continuer le chemin avec les peuples des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuits de notre pays.>> Pour de plus amples renseignements, visiter le site https://www.cccb.ca/fr/.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon July 21, 2021 released a report about an Historical Case Review Process that examined past cases of serious misconduct and sexual abuse in the diocese. In conjunction with those results, the diocese also announced updates to its Safeguarding Action Plan.
(The report does not address residential schools as the diocese of Saskatoon did not operate any residential schools and there were no Indian Residential Schools located within diocesan boundaries.)
A Safeguarding Advisory Committee established three years ago by Bishop Mark Hagemoen recommended a review of diocesan records as part of the release of a Safer Church, Safer Communities Safeguarding Action Plan in March 2020.
“The key goal of our plan was that our diocese and our churches be places of profound respect and safety for all peoples – especially the young and vulnerable,” said Bishop Hagemoen in a letter to the diocese July 21.
With that goal in mind, the Historical Case Review Process was primarily launched to determine what could be learned from past handling of cases to improve diocesan policies here and now, the bishop said. “We wished to determine how our current policies and practices can be improved, particularly in our commitment to support those who come forward with allegations of abuse or serious misconduct,” he said.
“This work is extremely important and valued. Although we have come a long way in our efforts, there is much more to do,” Hagemoen acknowledged.
The Historical Case Review Process involved two committees:
an Historical Case Review Committee chaired by Bob Loran that included a number of lay (non-clergy) professionals with a range of backgrounds and expertise – including legal, professional and police investigative experience – reviewing diocesan records independently of the bishop’s office, and
a Policy and Operations Review Committee chaired by Brenda FitzGerald, which did a complete review of diocesan policies and the Safeguarding Action Plan in light of the findings of the Historical Case Review Committee. This Policy and Operations Review Committee also met with victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse, listening to their experience and reflecting on the terrible and long-lasting effects and what is needed to best support victims/survivors.
“We have wrestled extensively with striking an appropriate balance between accountability and transparency, and sensitivity and responsibility, as every member of the Policy and Operations Committee deeply desires that the evil of sexual abuse be eradicated,” says Brenda Fitzgerald, chair of the Policy and Operations Committee, as well as of the diocesan Safeguarding Committee.
“In meeting with victims of sexual abuse, the Policy and Operations Review Committee repeatedly found that we must always remain victim/survivor-focused for the sake of respecting that person and their individual journey. This victim-centred approach must be reflected in every update to our safeguarding plan – and of any operation of the diocese,” she said.
At the recommendation of the committeees involved in the Historical Review Process, a commitment to publicly identifying the names of clergy and church employees who have been found guilty of sexual abuse or other serious misconduct has been clarified as being subject to privacy laws “and/or publication bans or privacy agreements.” The commitment was further broadened to include: “We commit to careful consultation with victims or representatives of victims prior to the public identification of names.”
The historical review report lists nine cases involving serious misconduct by either clergy or lay employees working in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, however no new names of abusers were released.
In three previously-reported cases, the names of offenders are again reported. In three cases, a credible claim could not be clearly established by the review committee and therefore names are not released. In two cases, victims have requested that names of the offenders not be published, and the diocese has honoured their wishes. The ninth case involved a Code of Conduct violation by an employee allegedly accessing pornography on a computer at a local parish – the name of the employee, now deceased, is not being released.
Two non-historical cases still under review were also noted in the Historical Case Review report, with previously-released names again published.
“In recent months we have learned that there are situations where releasing names of an abuser would further re-traumatize and trigger victims – each of whom are on their own unique healing journey,” explained FitzGerald.
“For some, releasing names of perpetrators of sexual abuse has tremendous potential to empower victims to seek healing and reparation. For others, there is a great fear and risk of further trauma with the release of names. As with our commitment that our entire Safeguarding Action Plan be more victim or survivor focused, we came to realize that with regard to this question of releasing names of abusers, we must also prioritize the needs and desires of the victim or survivor,” she said.
“Therefore, we have added this important clause to the commitment addressing the release of names of abusers: ‘We commit to careful consultation with victims or representatives of victims prior to the public identification of names.’ (Safer Church, Stronger Communities Safeguarding Action Plan, Commitment #12)”
Safeguarding plan updates
As a result of the work of the two committees, the diocesan Safeguarding Action Plan released in March 2020 has also been updated in several sections. The plan features 20 commitments that fall into four categories:
Outreach and Healing;
Process of Reporting and Addressing Allegations;
Policies and Training; and
Expanding Safeguarding Culture.
In addition to the changes to Commitment 12 about publicly identifying names, other changes to the Safeguarding Action Plan as a result of the Historical Case Review Process include:
committing to respond to allegations within 48 hours;
exploring the establishment of a 24-hour hotline for those who wish to remain anonymous when reporting serious misconduct or abuse;
undertaking a review of existing intake and investigation processes to be more complainant-focused, simplified and accessible;
including allegations against church volunteers in record-keeping; and
making trauma support and accompaniment resources available on the website as they become available.
Bishop Hagemoen expressed his appreciation to the committees who undertook the review of historic files and the Safeguarding Action Plan. “I am grateful to those who led this process – professionals who are Catholic and non-Catholic, and who did their work independent of myself and our diocesan offices,” he said.
Bishop Hagemoen also apologized to victims / survivors of sexual abuse and to the wider Church community.
“To any person in our diocese or beyond who has experienced abuse by clergy or anyone else in the Church, I again express my profound sorrow and I apologize for what you have suffered, and for the betrayal, violation, and abandonment you have experienced,” Hagemoen said.
“I also apologize to all members of our Church whose faith and trust has been damaged because of the sinful actions of those who abused the innocent, and those who covered up such abuse. I recognize that both individual and institutional change must happen in our Church to move forward.”
VIDEO: Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Historical Review Committee Chair Bob Loran, Policy and Operations Review Committee Chair Brenda Fitzgerald: